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Auto blogSat, 27 Jul 2013 11:02:00 EST
Volkswagen and Suzuki have been undergoing marriage counseling in a bid to avoid finalizing their nasty divorce. The blissful union has been troubled for some time, with Volkswagen claiming that it could affect operational decisions at Suzuki, and the Japanese brand's sniping and constant flirting with a certain Italian temptress causing rifts.
The matter first went to court in 2012, when Suzuki demanded VW get out, and leave its 19.9-percent stake in the Japanese brand in a box to the left. Now, Automotive News is reporting that the company will give the relationship one last shot, according to closed-door dealings between the two in London.
Still, it's understood that VW and Suzuki recognize the benefit of their alliance, and that it'd be in the best interests of the kids both parties to make things work. Spokespeople declined to comment to AN, but the newsmagazine spoke with Frank Biller, an analyst for LBBW in Stuttgart, who said, "Both companies stand to benefit if they can overcome the disagreements over leadership claims."
According to a report in Autocar, Volkswagen might have more in mind for the XL1 than mining it for advances to grace the next-generation Golf. Aiming to fight the Honda FCEV due for public consumption next year, we're told VW executives have put a four-door, four-seater version of the XL1 - it could be called XL2 - on the drawing board. The impetus is said to come from the top, with VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch intent on staying in the deep end of "super-efficent vehicles."
Autocar suspects the necessary changes could raise the weight of the car from 1,749 pounds to 2,068 pounds, which would make it four pounds less than the 2,072-pound Up! we drove a few years ago. Crucially, however, the mag thinks the extra capacity wouldn't change the two-seater's 310-mile-per-gallon rating, with tech tweaks and the aerodynamic benefit of a longer car offsetting the weight. Speculation is that the back seats would be staggered like the fronts in order to maintain the XL1's overall profile.
We recently heard about another XL1 variant that's gone off the radar entirely, the Ducati-engined XLR that we thought we'd see at the Geneva Motor Show and that was said to be going into production, so this one could go the same way. The biggest hurdle to making such an idea a reality, though, could be the price: the current XL1 costs 110,000 euros ($146,116). If VW really is going to compete with the Honda FCEV and the Toyota FCV - $70,000 in Japan - that might be where it wants to start.
Reggae super-duper-star and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jimmy Cliff has been using music to send positive vibes out into the universe for decades now, so its no surprise that his message on behalf of Volkswagen is one of redemption.
Dubbed Sunny Side, this web-spot is VW's warmup of sorts for what promises to be another blockbuster year in the world of Super Bowl commercials. Without giving away the game, the euphonious commercial sees Cliff opening his arms and his heart to some YouTube 'celebrities' that might see courser treatment from the likes of Tosh.0, for instance. We can't help but be reminded of Coca-Cola's legendary 1971 Hilltop spot with the "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" lyric, too.
Enjoy the pre-Super Bowl VW spot below, and don't forget to pay it forward... your karma will thank you. For those of you that just can't get enough of commercial-making magic, we've included a "making-of" video, as well.